Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Water Cooler Is Now On The Web (BusinessWeek)

More mainstream social networking momentum 

Plenty of big, mainstream companies look at the fast-growing social network scene as a place to market their products. But many are also adopting the same Web technology to create internal networks. It turns out to be an efficient way to mine for in-house expertise, discover new recruits, and share information within their own walls. Setting up a corporate version of a social network has its own challenges, as well. Companies have to build in safeguards to ensure that they can track the discussions and document sharing, to be certain that employees comply with government regulations and don't tumble into legal hot water.
Corporations are being nudged along by employees, and not just the digital-savvy Generation Y that's now entering the workforce. More 30-plus employees are signing up with Facebook to trade daily updates with colleagues and friends. They're also building lists of contacts from among the 13 million professionals on LinkedIn. At Ernst & Young alone, 11,000 workers now have Facebook accounts.
That translates into a juicy new sales opportunity for tech companies that sell networking products. Everyone from IBM (IBM )to Microsoft (MSFT ) and on down to startups like intro Networks, Awareness Inc., and Jive Software, are offering applications and services.

Coincidentally, my Burton Group colleagues Guy Creese, Mike Gotta, and I had an on-site briefing with Awareness yesterday.  I'm impressed with their customer success stories and their unified architecture.

The Water Cooler Is Now On The Web

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